Evaluating Lucerne Production on Centre Pivot

Adam Demazures, a grower member of Lucerne Australia, and Scott Manser, chairman of the Lucerne Australia Trial Committee, discuss the lucerne variety trial initiated in response to members requests for independent information on variety performance over four years under centre pivot irrigation.

Cuts in water allocation for irrigation of seed crops has prompted interest in identifying varieties that are more water use efficient in producing seed and fodder.

This is another video supported by the Social Media in Agriculture project funded by Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative.

The Centre pivot variety trial was brought about through lucerne Australia to find the varieties of lucerne seed that growers would want to go forward with to be more productive. There’s a lot of cutbacks in irrigation water in the moment in all the areas, and it’s just trying to get all the dollars per kilogram back and for the amount of water you use to produce the lucerne seed. This trial is in it’s third year of harvest production, another year to run and by that stage we will have some very good data for growers to take home and make a decision on. The plot size, well they were around 2.4 wide by 8 meters.

Varied Irrigation to Test Lucerne Response

The variety around us is an FG, it’s 909 hundred it was irrigated for hay, and then irrigated again on the 5th of November. November the first cut of hay was taken and this was originally meant to have another cut of hay on the 17th of December but Joe , the manager here, decided it was getting too late so he ended up locking it up.

So it was locked for seed on the 15th of November It was then irrigated again, with 65 mls applied. Another irrigation event on the 17th of the 1st. and then the last irrigation was applied on the 8th of January. So the total amount of water that was used for the seed production here was 3.4 mega-liters, so it’s not that much really per hectare.

Outcomes for the Lucerne Irrigation Trials

It’s been very interesting to see some of the way that different producers that I’ve spoken to have taken on board what we’ve put together and are using varieties from the trial already, and and showing good results. The seed companies are all on board with it and they’ve paid to be in the trial, and are sort of big supporters of it, so it works very well.

They are very keen to  see their results and be compared against their competition. The results are published by Lucerne  Australia and some are published through the owners of the seed, and we just had an annual field day to look at the seed set as we did today, and then all results from the herbage, which is done back in December, November, is distributed to our members.

From the results last year, that was pretty self-explanatory. The SGI varieties did very well again. Has just been very difficult to get consistency through the plots through different soil types. There’s been some very good positives in just about a standard field and compare different varieties, and against each other, as they stand in a field with the same water, fertilizer applications over the whole lot of them.